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HWFRS supports carers and the contributions they make to their families

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HWFRS supports carers and the contributions they make to their families

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, is reaching out to local carers in Carers Week (10-16 June) and reminding them that help is available to keep them, and the people they care for, safe from fire.

Carers Week helps people to understand more about caring, highlights the challenges carers face and celebrates the contribution carers make to their families and communities throughout the UK. Fire safety is another worry on an ever-growing list for those with the extra responsibility of looking after an elderly relative, sick friend or a disabled family member.

A survey showed that more than half of the people who had tested someone else's smoke alarm had done so for an older family member. But there are many other issues a carer must think about – from the extra time it takes for people with difficulty moving to escape a fire in the home, to the added risks of flammable equipment such as oxygen cylinders.

Group Commander Mick Cadman said: "There is a lot of help available for carers to make sure that they and their loved ones are protected – be it simple safety advice over the phone or on our website. The simplest thing any carer can do to prevent fire in their home is to make a few easy additions to their normal routine. Testing your loved one's smoke alarm weekly and planning an escape route could help give them the vital extra seconds they need to get out in a fire. Simple steps such as closing doors at night and avoiding overloaded plug sockets will help reduce the risk in their home."

He continued: "We can offer a FREE Home Fire Safety Check to those who are most vulnerable and as part of this check we will fit smoke alarms and other associated equipment along with giving vital safety advice. We can also offer a variety of specialist safety equipment such as vibrating smoke alarms for the hard of hearing and linked alarm systems."

If you take care of a loved one, the below advice could help make your – and their – jobs easier should the worst happen:

  • if you have a text phone or minicom, you can contact the emergency services on 18000
  • make sure that the person you care for knows what to do in the event of a fire
  • it's a good idea to practise an escape so that you and your loved ones feel confident enough to do it by day or night
  • a working smoke alarm can give your loved ones the extra time they need to escape a house fire. Make testing the batteries of their alarms part of your weekly routine
  • most house fires happen at night, so make sure your smoke alarm is in a position that will wake the person you care for up; eg in the bedroom
  • if you can, close inside doors at night. This will help prevent a fire from spreading
  • if you use oxygen, make sure the equipment is stored safely out of direct sunlight, well ventilated, always dry and away from heat sources
  • never have open flames, smoke or use electrical appliances such as hairdryers, while using oxygen

For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure. If you have a family friend, or a relative that would benefit from a free Home Fire Safety Check then give us a call on 0800 032 1155 to see if they would qualify for a check.

For further information on fire safety please visit www.hwfire.org.uk